Retired Bristol Maintenance Worker Appeals To Former Colleagues Following Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Bristol Industrial Disease Experts Investigating Asbestos Exposure

01.03.2016

A retired maintenance worker is appealing to former colleagues for help after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

Brian Austin, 66, from Patchway, Bristol was diagnosed with the disease in July 2015 after suffering from shortness of breath. He has now instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he came into contact with the deadly substance decades ago.

The father-of-two believes he may have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibres during his employment at a number of companies in the South-West, including Lewis Quantick and Co, where he worked from 1965 to 1970.

Brian told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell that he completed his apprenticeship with the Redland-based company, and his role involved painting, decorating and refurbishments. He recalls working on a number of local authority properties situated in the Tickenham, Fishponds and Clevedon areas, where he removed asbestos-containing cement and linoleum.

He also remembers removing appliances from the walls, which disturbed asbestos insulation, releasing dust and fibres into the working environment. Brian also spent time painting the outside of properties, which required him to sand down asbestos guttering, soffits and downpipes, without a mask to protect him from the deadly dust.

Brian later worked for Quick Son (West Midlands) Limited from 1973 to 1976 where he worked regularly with Artex, which contained asbestos.

Brian was sent to complete an Artex course in a factory in Brighton in the 1970’s and believes he went on to regularly use the substance during his time at the firm, which included working at the Clark’s factory in Street and the Elizabeth Shaw Mint Factory.

From 1994 to 1999 Brian worked for Middleton Maintenance Ltd and his role included maintaining Little Chef and Travelodge premises in the South-West, which required him to cut and shape asbestos boards, as well as maintaining asbestos ceiling tiles and asbestos-lagged boilers.

Later in his career Brian worked for EBC Building and Maintenance Limited and Rok Building Limited as a maintenance worker and he recalls carrying out repairs that required him to work with asbestos rope and alongside asbestos-lagged pipework.

Brian told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell he was never provided with personal protective equipment and it was not until towards the end of his career that he was given training on how to safely handle asbestos at work.

Isabelle Selley, an Associate Solicitor and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“Asbestos-related diseases are the biggest occupational killer of all time and mesothelioma kills over 2,500 people in the UK every year, often affecting people decades after they were exposed to the material.

“The dangers of asbestos have been well known for some time but unfortunately many employers did not take the appropriate steps to protect staff from inhaling the substance and the health risks associated with this.

“Brian and his wife Maureen are understandably concerned about what the future holds and we are appealing to former colleagues to come forward and help them understand where Brian was exposed to the substance and if more could have been done by any of his employers to better protect him.”
Isabelle Selley, Associate

Brian, who has been married to Maureen for 46 years, said: “My mesothelioma diagnosis came as a real shock to me and my family and we are struggling to come to terms with my illness and what the future holds for us.

“To think that the disease may have been caused by my exposure to asbestos during my working life is extremely upsetting and I can’t help but feel let down that I was never provided with protective equipment.

“Hopefully my former colleagues will come forward with the information we are looking for so those responsible for failing to protect me from the dangers of asbestos are held to account.”

Anyone who worked at Lewis Quantick and Co, Quick Son (West Midlands) Limited, Middleton Maintenance Ltd or EBC Building and Maintenance Limited and Rok Building Limited who remembers Brian or has information on the presence of asbestos should contact Isabelle Selley on 0117 926 1522 or email isabelle.selley@IrwinMitchell.com.